The Birth Map

The Birth Map and the process of birth mapping was created by Catherine Bell. You can find  out more  at

Why do I choose birth mapping for my clients?


What I love about being a doula is that I get to spend time getting to know you, what makes you  laugh, cry, feel stressed out or feel relaxed. What you like and don’t like. What are your past experiences, beliefs and views around birth and what is happening with this pregnancy and most importantly what you want. When creating your birth map you can be given the same information as another person and make completely different choices about your birth based on what’s right for you.

The birth map steps away from birth wishes or preferences that tend to give the control back to the care provider (like getting in a cab, you set the destination but it’s up to the driver which way to go) or a birth plan that is a fixed idea that is unlikely to match reality (planning one route for you journey without looking at alternatives incase of road closures or will you take the fast train or walk). The birth map takes you through the journey of birth and provides the opportunity for you to make informed decisions about what will happen at any decision points  along the way.

The language used in you birth map is key as it can make the difference between your wish being disregarded or your choice being respected!

“I wish to have delayed cord clamping”
“The cord is to be cut after a minimum of 5 minutes”


Who ultimately has responsibility over what happens to your body, your birth and your baby? You!!

Knowledge is power

Childbirth is not a medical event, it is a natural process and for most healthy people it can unfold without any medical procedures, your body knows what to do and you don’t need to be saved or protected from it. How can you have an embodied and empowered birth? Prepare and get informed.

If you do need medical support any examination, test or procedure requires your consent. Consent implies you have made an informed decision and, therefore, you are ultimately responsible for the outcome. During birth mapping sessions we go through all the benefits, risks and alternatives of all interventions, giving you the knowledge to calmly make these decisions.

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Calm confident you and calm confident partner power

Adrenaline and your thinking brain are the main things that stop, slow down or interrupt your labour, so anxiety, change and being asked lots of questions at this time would best be avoided.

So wouldn’t it be great to have made you decisions and explored different scenarios before labour happens? You can hand over your birth map and you can get into your labour knowing you can manage whatever happens and your partner can be your supporter rather than feeling like they need to protect you. Adrenaline is contagious so if your partner is not prepared their stress can affect your labour too.  

Respectful care

When your care provider reads the birth map they will see you have made informed decisions and they  can respect your choices and support and assist your birth knowing you have made informed decisions.


This process opens up clear and open communication with your care provider throughout pregnancy as you gather the information you need by asking them questions and finding out what is feasible in your birth place.

Sounds like a win win situation, right?

How the Birth Map come together

General considerations:

What?  What are your expectations, fears around birth? What environment do you want, low light, no interruptions, scent sound, comfort measures

 Who? Who do you want there with you children, partner, doula, midwife, birthkeeper, mother, consultant? 

Where Home or hospital setting? If in a care setting do they support your who and expectations e.g are you likely to have the water birth you want? Do they support optimal cord clamping? What are their caesarean/induction rates?

When? Would you consider an induction and in what scenarios have you considered benefits, risks and alternatives. Do the benefits outweigh the risks?

Fast pathway

Fast birth happens!! This part of the map looks and how you consider this option in order for you and your birth partner to stay calm and relaxed.

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The expected pathway 

Whether this is a planned caesarean, induction or spontaneous labour, we will go through all your options to keep it aligned with you and what is right for you.

The contingency pathway

This covers  ‘what if…..then that’

What would you do if you went into labour before your planned caesarean- how would you manage contractions, is it a medical emergency or could you do a trial of labour? What if you have a vaginal birth what procedures would you accept e.g. vaginal exams, pain relief, assisted delivery? What if you end up with an emergency caesarean? Do you want your baby to breastfeed and have immediate skin to skin? Do you want optimal cord clamping?

Beyond the birth

However, birth unfolds this will impact what happens immediately after the birth and your ongoing postpartum/ parenting journey. The ripple effect, every action has a reaction. If you have considered the different pathways you and your partner will feel more relaxed going into parenthood and we can also plan what the early days may look like for you.

There is no one way, now wrong way, just your way!!

Get in touch to get started with your Map and I can send you an example

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